Over 150 employees will be laid off at Vice Media, due to business challenges and a low return on investment from resources spent on producing content for digital platforms. Vice Media CEO, Nancy Dubuc, announced plans this week that 155 employees are to be laid off. In a memo titled, “The Course Ahead,” Dubuc said that 55 staffers will be cut on Friday in the U.S. and that “approximately” 100 staffers will be cut abroad “over the coming weeks.”
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted various industries including digital media, which has resulted in layoffs or furloughs. Dubuc also shared in the memo, “I want you to know that we’ve done absolutely everything we could to protect these positions for as long as possible, and your time and contributions will forever be part of who we are and who we will become.” She also said, “Looking at our business holistically, this imbalance needed to be addressed for the long-term health of our company.”
The memo also states, “While losing even one job feels like too many, these decisions ultimately rest with me and I assure you that we went to great lengths to preserve jobs.”
Vice Digital’s teams will be disproportionately affected by the layoffs. Currently, the company’s digital organization accounts for 50% of headcount costs, “but only brings in about 21% of our revenue,” Dubuc said in the memo.
In February 2019, as part of a reorganization, the company cut 10 percent of its staff, or approximately 250 people. In the memo, Dubuc told staffers that “tough decisions” had to be made about the company’s digital teams, which she said account for 50 percent of Vice’s headcount costs but only generate 21 percent of the company’s revenue. But, she said the company was able to preserve 90 percent of digital roles.
According to an article in Variety, the layoffs come after Vice Media implemented belt-tightening moves at the end of March, extending for a 90-day period. Those steps, which are currently effective through June 30, include a sliding scale of pay cuts for employees earning $100,000 or more; a temporary suspension on promotions; and a halt on company-matched 401(k) contributions.
Vice Media staff who are being pink-slipped will receive severance pay; in addition, “everyone will be able to keep their work-issued laptops” as well as receive outplacement services, Dubuc said in the memo. In the U.S., laid-off employees will receive extended health benefits coverage through the end of 2020.